The Atlanta Hawks extended their winning streak to three games against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night, with a107-90 victory at Fed Ex Forum. In a wire-to-wire victory, Taurean Prince led the Hawks with 17 points while Dennis Schröder and Paul Millsap both added 16 points. For the Grizzlies, JaMychal Green led the way with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Mike Conley added 16 points.
Perimeter shooting proves decisive
A summary of this game — why the Hawks won and the Grizz lost — in nine-ish words: The Hawks made their shots, the Grizzlies did not.
It really was as simple as that. The Hawks shot 50% from the floor and 50% from behind the arc while the Grizzlies shot 38% from the the floor and 17% (5-of-29) from three-point range. The Hawks’ defense was good but Memphis’ offense was quite poor and they settled for a lot of jumpshots that didn’t go down. But give credit to the Hawks, whose man and ball movement was very good but perhaps there’s another reason why the Hawks’ offense was a little more fluid in terms of ball and man movement…
Dwight Howard was sat out of this one for rest and Kris Humphries got the starting nod with Mike Muscala (HE EXISTS!!) seeing rotation minutes off the bench for the first time in six games. In the six games Dwight Howard has missed this season, the Hawks are now 6-1. Is that a coincidence or…?
As there was after the Raptors game, there was a focus on the Hawks’ three-point defense. After holding the Grizzlies to just five three-pointers, the Hawks have only allowed nine three-pointers in their last two games.
“That is one of the areas where we’ve got to get better. Everyone is aware of it. We talked about it. We had a film session a couple days ago. I think the guys have been better.”
— Coach Mike Budenholzer
It has been better, no doubt, but I want to see how the Hawks’ — seemingly — improved three-point defense stacks against one of the better three-point shooting teams. Memphis and Toronto aren’t exactly three-point juggernauts but, to be fair, they’re not exactly rooted at the bottom of the league in that department either. I’m just not convinced yet.
Oh boy, it’s this time of year again…
With Atlanta’s win against Memphis and Toronto’s loss against the Heat, the Hawks are suddenly just one game adrift of the Raptors for home court advantage. The gap to the sixth seeded Indiana Pacers is now 3.5 games. All to play for still.
Career-night for Taurean
It only took a quarter-and-a-bit for a very driven Taurean Prince to set a new career-high, trading his previous high of 11 points for a new high of 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range.
TP just looked so up for it, he just had an extra spring in his step.
“Because we have so many great players on the team from Paul Millsap to Tim (Hardaway Jr.) to (Kent Bazemore), pretty much everybody on the team, it allowed for me. Right now, I’m known for playing defense and getting back and floating around on offense and doing what I’m supposed to do. I felt like being aggressive tonight.”
— Taurean Prince
Prince appears to have nailed down a rotation spot for the rest of this season ahead of Bembry and it’s going to be interesting to see how Prince handles the playoffs.
Hawks-high for José
José Calderón continues to see rotation minutes and last night he scored a season-high 14, all of which came in the final period.
Calderón, game by game, is becoming more familiar with what the Hawks are running and has acknowledged that it’s going to take time:
“Even the first half took me awhile. It’s going to take some time. With no practice time, those are my practices. I’ve got to try not to make mistakes and get a feeling for my teammates at the same time. I’m going to be a little more aggressive. That was my mindset in the second half. The shots gave me a little more confidence. Every game is going to help and every game it has been better.”
— José Calderón
Again, Bud is just seeing what he has in Calderón. Malcolm Delaney — who was a DNP-CD on Saturday night — is still the backup point guard and coach Bud reiterated that the Hawks are simply seeing what Calderón can add:
“Obviously he (Calderón) played well tonight. We wanted to give him three, four, five games and evaluate then. We still have a lot of confidence in Malcolm. So we’ll play Jose some more. He’s been good. He is getting comfortable. His playmaking has been good for us.”
— Coach Mike Budenholzer
A night of streaks
If you like streaks — whether new ones set or old ones coming to an end — this game was full of them.
- Tim Hardaway Jr.’s streak of double digit scoring ended at 20 games after he scored just eight points last night
- Paul Millsap’s career best streak of five games of 20 or more points scored in a game ended after he scored just 16 last night
- Haws extend their winning streak to three games
- Memphis lost their fourth straight game by double digits and a season worse fifth in a row
Even the Hall of Famer gets his left and right mixed up. It happens to us all, Nique…
The Hawks (37-29) are back in action on Monday night where they’ll take on the San Antonio Spurs in Texas.